Several members of 350 East Bay’s Legislative team went to Sacramento to testify at key committee hearings on April 18 and 19, and April 24 and 25. Since April 28 was the deadline for bills to pass out of policy committees, legislators were faced with dozens of bills at each hearing and testimony in support was particularly important. At Senate or Assembly policy committees such as Transportation and Housing or Natural Resources, bills are usually supported with 2-minute positions by organizational sponsors such as NRDC or the Sierra Club. Testimony from supporting witnesses usually consists of a 15-second appearance at the microphone following a long, sometimes hours-long, wait for the bill to be heard.
It was great to see 350 Bay Area legislative team members roaming the halls in the Capitol along with hundreds of other advocates. Meanwhile, legislators in the committee hearings were passing up-or-down votes on hundreds of bills. Many of the bills we are following passed in their policy committee and were referred to Appropriations. After review by a fiscal committee, Appropriations determines the fate of bills that have a fiscal impact.
Here are some highlights from recent hearings: (For descriptions of bills, see the Bills page.)
- (Action Alert): SB 692 – Is going to the Senate Floor next. Clean Coalition is asking for calls to Bay Area senators Steve Glazer, Bob Wieckowski and Jim Beall.
- AB 17 Passed w/ no stated opposition Referred to Appropriations
- AB 262 passed 4 /5 on reconsideration in Administrative Review and Accountability Cmt. Frazier (D- Rio Vista) voted no TWICE. 4/24 passed in Natural Resources. Referred to Appropriations
- AB 378 – passed – speakers FOR- EDF, NRDC, Lung Association; CEJA and Coalition for Accountability and Env Justice (San Joaquin/central valley EJ group) spoke in support of author and concept but want to see more protections for EJ communities, continue negotiations., Against WSPA, Ca Manufacturers. Referred to Appropriations
- SB 49 – passed Judiciary Cmt (5-2) Sen. Stern presented SB49 in Judiciary Committee hearing at 5:15 p.m.and did a great job.
- SB 51 – Judiciary voted at 6:58 p.m. 5-2 in favor. Ayes: Jackson, Stern, Wieckowski, Hertzberg, Monning; Noes: Moorlach, Anderson. We spoke in support.
- SB 57 (urgency bill) – was amended on 4/20 and re-referred to Appropriations. We saw Sen. Stern and thanked him for his work on SB 49 and 57 and Stern thanked us for being there for both. Stern presented SB49 in Judiciary and did a great job.
- SB 150 represented 350 Bay Area and San Diego 350; climate plan and NRDC spoke in support; Environmental Defense Fund, California Bicycle Coalition and others added support; Business Industries Association and Orange County COG spoke in opposition but said they’d work with Sen Allen to resolve; passed 9-4 along party lines. Referred to Appropriations
- SB 263: Trust for Public Land spoke to the need for smaller communities to get assistance because they have various hurdles to access state funds. Centers would be locally staffed, helping local communities develop leadership, and locally appropriate programs. Greenlining institute spoke in favor to eradicate poverty and pollution for the most vulnerable communities in California. Help reduce GHG, air pollution. Need staff or money to hire consultants to put together proposals for grants. (KD note- these are the same people who presented the bill w/ Sen Leyva on 4/5 in Sen EQ Cmt). A number of organizations spoke in favor of the measure (15-20?). None spoke against. Referred to Appropriations
- SB 560 – passed Senate PER committee 3-2 along party lines. STRS, California Teachers Association spoke to ‘no position’; Senator Allen working with the funds to iron out any remaining issues (mostly around the shape of the reporting requirements) (from FFCA – IT’S TIME TO START GETTING CO-SPONSORS in both the Senate and the Assembly. The bill will likely go “on suspense” in Appropriations, which gives us a couple of weeks to gather support.
- SB 700 – Passed 4/24 Sen Energy U&C cmt). We spoke in support.
- SB 709 passed in Sen Env Quality Cmt 4/19 with a number of groups speaking in support (SF Baykeeper and NRDC at table with Wiener) and WSPA speaking against said: why this is needed? OSPR (state oil spill prevention and response office-part of CA Dept of Conservation) already has authority to require oil spill response plans, why aren’t you working with Coast Guard? The state already has a task force working on oil spill response, etc. Chair (Wieckowski) asked — isn’t some Calif crude oil also non-floating heavy crude (not just tar sands)?